The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 09710
Date: [21 September 1893][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Edward Guthrie Kennedy[2]
Place: New York
Repository: New York Public Library
Call Number: E. G. Kennedy I/43
Credit Line: Edward Guthrie Kennedy Papers / Manuscripts and Archives Division / The New York Public Library / Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Document Type: ALS

110. Rue du Bac. Paris -

My dear Mr Kennedy -

We have just read your capital letter[3] from the heart of Chicago, and are immensely amused and pleased with it -

Your description of the amazing wheel and other wonders makes one quite sympathize with the old lady's view of "Terra futta[4]"! -

As to the rest - it is very clear that you have glided gently over the difficulties of [p. 2] the situation as far as I am concerned - avoiding all disagreeable details - leaving me to find out whatever you fancy may be annoying to me, from somebody else! - What can you really mean by what you call the "perfunctory" manner of bestowing awards! - Is this to prepare one for some gross evidence of envy hatred malice and discourtesy? Then from What you say in a sort of apologetic way, it is evident that the hanging of the paintings themselves has been abominable - They are clearly scattered about the building and lost as much as possible - Why you don't even mention the "Princess[5] du Pays de la Porcelaine" - which shows that you have not come upon the odd corner where they have clearly hidden her away! - They have on the other hand put prominently to the fore the girl (my present to Mr Cassatt[6]) as though such were my completed work - sent by me as a representative finished picture! -

Whereas it is the sketch of one afternoon - or rather the first statement or beginning of a painting - I am not excusing it mind - for [illegible] of course it is a damn fine thing - only I should certainly never have proposed to send it to the Chicago place for the hordes of foolish people to look upon! I ought to have been consulted -

You say nothing at all about the etchings[7] - and their placing, [p. 3] from which I judge that they are badly hung - and no award! - I must say I really do hope this is the case: - after reading the list of English awards!!! -

However, news whatever it may be, we think you ought to send us - So don't try to wriggle out of anything - but write out the exact list, or send the official statement of the American awards - Tell us exactly how the paintings are hung - Where is the Princesse? - And by the way explain to me why[8] I have had no official communication whatever on the matter of my exhibition over there at any time - since the first letter requesting the loan of works? I mean no card of invitation - no catalogue - no amenities of any sort -

Voila. - Now do sit down at once and answer all this for me.

I am sending[9] proofs of new lithographs[10] -

Always sincerely

J McN Whistler

This document is protected by copyright.


'Sept. 21, 1893'

E. G. Kennedy. Esq.
868. Broadway.
New York -
U. S. A.
Etats Unis -
[postmark:] PARIS 8 / R. DE CHOISEUL / 6E 21 / SEPT / 93
[postmark on verso:] P. O. N. Y. / [...] / A / 1-93 / 6 [...]


1.  [21 September 1893]
Dated from the postmark, and the date written in another hand on the envelope.

2.  Edward Guthrie Kennedy
Edward Guthrie Kennedy (1849-1932), dealer with H. Wunderlich and Co., New York [more].

3.  letter
Kennedy had been at the World's Columbian Exposition, Department of Fine Arts, Chicago, 1893. His letter is not located.

4.  Terra futta
Possibly meaning 'terra firma', Lat., firm land.

5.  Princess
Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56).

6.  present to Mr Cassatt
The Chelsea Girl (YMSM 314), given to J. Gardner Cassatt (1849-1911), financier [more], to compensate for his dissatisfaction with the portrait of his wife.

7.  etchings
A selection of JW's etchings, made by Howard Mansfield (1849-1938), New York lawyer, print collector [more]; it was based mostly on his own collection plus those of Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more], and Col. Frank J. Hecker (1846-1927), partner of C. L. Freer, Michigan and Peninsular Car Company [more].

8.  why
Underlined three times.

9.  I am sending...
The remiander of the text is written in the left margin of p. 1.

10.  lithographs
See various lithographs referred to in #03341.